More than 200 students from schools around the region including Boorowa Central School took part in the Science and Engineering Challenge at Young on Tuesday.
Year 9 and 10 students' minds were put to the test through a series of activities designed to give them a "taste" of what it's like to work in a field of science or engineering.
The national competition is run by the University of Newcastle, which recognised two decades ago that there was a lack of science and engineering graduates entering the workforce each year.
"The aim is to get more scientists and engineers pursuing those careers, it's certainly needed in the global workforce," University of Newcastle's Pete Fullager said.
"Beyond that, it's to make the students realise that they do have inherent ability, maybe it's untapped. They can go off and look at any number of careers, there is an awful lot of careers based in both science and engineering these days."
Students also took part from Young High School, Hennessy Catholic College, Cowra High School, St Raphael's Catholic School in Cowra, Grenfell's Henry Lawson High School and Cootmaundra High School.
Schools are restricted to bringing a maximum of 32 students, which were separated into teams of four and tasked with different activities.
Activities included designing a trolley to pull over a simulated moonscape, designing a building to survive an earthquake, and building a bridge to withstand as much weight as possible.
This is the 11th year the challenge has been held at the PCYC Young, and convener Frank Lincoln of the Rotary Club of Young says he's seen positive results.
"I know that at Henry Lawson High School in the last few years, out of their Year 12 graduates who have gone to university, 80 per cent have gone onto science degrees," Mr Lincoln said.
"Australia is desperate for engineer jobs. This was designed to get kids thinking about perhaps going into that field when they leave school, and give them a taste of the activities they'll be doing if they go into a science field."
The competition has been running nationally for 19 years, the past 11 years at the Young PCYC.
"Students having fun and engaging is what this competition is all about," Pete Fullagar added.